How to Identify Quality Men’s Dress Shirts-The Dress Shirt Guide
The dress shirt has a crucial role in men’s wardrobe, It is directly in contact with the skin and plays a significant role between your body and jacket, and creating harmony between body and jacket movements.
To create high-quality and comfortable shirt need right fabrics, highly experienced tailor, and specific craftsmanship indifferent it is a bespoke, made to measure or ready to wear.
The shirt is a second element of the professional’s wardrobe, and we need to pay particular attention when we purchase the shirt. Which involves your face shape, work, the lapels and collar of your jacket, pattern, color and as well as fabrics quality, I am covering in this article most of the essential details, which will help you to choose a right shirt for your wardrobe.
Fabrics are the crucial element of the quality shirts, to identify high-quality material we need to know the following factors:
➢ Yarn count (diameter):
The first thing to distinguish a prime quality shirt is the Fabric, The thickness and diameter of the yarn play an essential role on fabrics quality, yarn measuring within thread count in micron or super (diameter) like |100×2 |…| 300×2| and finner. To produce higher thread count yarn need highly sophisticated and advanced machinery system and techniques. Higher thread number means excellent quality yarn and result is a luxury and high-quality fabrics. For reference, most of the designer shirt in Market likely using the thread count up to 120×2.
➢ Cotton Fiber quality: The quality of the fiber is another aspect of this sophisticated process which depends on the provenience, location, climate, fiber length and when was cultivated.
➢ Weaving technique and finishing: Today we have the very advanced system for weaving and finishing the fabrics with a silky touch and smooth shell finishing. There are many variations of fabrics processing techniques which together with fiber quality determine the quality and value of the material. Unfortunately, none of the shirt manufacturer and brands do not share the tread information of the shirt fabrics on they label and tags.
Here are some of the verification techniques for prime quality fabrics.
A) Weaving density: Prime quality fabrics have high-density weaving, to understand well you can think like tv pixel density (DPI), high-density of pixel mean clear quality image and high-density of the thread means high-quality fabrics.
B) Touch and feel: when you touch the quality shirt fabrics will feel exceptionally silky and smooth touch; It is always colder than room temperature and thin weaving construction.
C) The good-quality Fabrics are thin and dense feeling on hand, but the low-quality materials are thick and light feeling and low-density weaving.
2. Stitching density
Stitch density is another element to verify the high-quality shirt. The number of the stitches in one inch is the one of crucial detail to appreciate the quality of the shirt. It is important because this way you can determine if shirtmaker used high- quality fabrics.
High-density stitch can use in higher thread count (tightly woven) fabrics, like 20 t0 27 steps stitches per inch which this is not possible in low-density weaving fabrics. Using the same number of stitches in low thread count fabrics will cut the materials at the sewing line. 20 to 27 stitches per inch considered a good quality shirt with an elegant look and durability. Low-density shirts fabrics require slightly larger stitches in order not to destroy the material generally up to 14 steps stitches per inch. To understand the quality of the shirt, we need to count the number of stitch in one inch; good quality shirt must have between 20 to 27 stitches per inch.
3) Stitch distance from the edge ( Hemming line)
Another detail to verify the prime quality shirts, you can also check the stitch distance from the margin. The smaller feature is better, under 3 mm considered very good, because to sew 1 to 3 mm need Higley experience tailoring skills. Also, check the consistency of these
stitches in all over the shirt, should be same on the cuff, collar, and body part of the shirt.
Another detail for edge stitching is wrinkling and weave, especially on the bottom part of the shirt need to pay particular attention because of the curvy shape.
4) Handmade Pick stitching ( Decorative hand stitching )
This future is still part of the excellent quality shirt before was exclusively used in high-quality shirts, but these days many of shirt makers have this details on they shirts even most of the machine made shirts. It is another element of high-end shirt often feature decorative hand pick stitching along the seams. It indeed is a look, but it is an excellent indicator to understand manufacturer attention to the small detail.
5. Side Seams
To obtain the cleaner look and dressier appearance on side seams need to use single-needle stitching in 3 mm or less, Higher-end shirtmakers always use a single-needle stitch. It is another future for the prime quality shirt.
Low-end shirt future is with twin-needles, this stitching future mostly used on casual shirts. The major problem in twin -needle stitching is wrinkling, look, and functionality, the seam with double- needle stitches will get heavily wrinkle after washing, of course, the composition of the thread and fabrics should be taking in consideration for the intensity of wrinkling. Another aspect of twin-needle stitches is sawing time, which is three times less than single stitches. The most critical element in tween stitch is the shirts body side seams, stitching together with shirt sleeve seams in continue line, this way creating an uncomfortable feeling in body movement, by little body movement your shirt come out from your pant and you never have free arms movement.
The collar is the most visible and crucial part of the shirt, which we need to pay high attention to following details.
A) The interlining used inside the collar, can be woven and none-woven paper base fused, and none-fused depends on construction. Collar made of the three-layer materials. Upper, middle and lower, the middle side is interlining, and other two are shirt fabrics.
Interlining depend on the assembly can be fused on front side only as well as backside or on both sides. Un-fused collars are the best, and need skills tailor to produce and cost more time, That is not mean fused collar is not the right option, many high-quality fused collars provide a crisp collar, the quality of interlining, construction and craftsmanship is highly essential to make a good quality shirt.
Men’s wardrobe should contain both versions of the shirts with fused and non-fused collars to choose the right one for the specific occasion.
B) The purpose and function of interlining
The purpose of the interlining is to create a support for multiple laundries, crisp look, shape, and stable base for jacket collar, Using different thicknesses and softness interlining forming the different look and functionality for a specific event, like a dressy, evening, casual shirts.
C ) Collar buttonhole shape and button size
Buttonhole on the collar should make in 45 degrees.
The button size is better to be slim and small for functionality reason.
D) Stitch density
The density of the collar stitches should have between 20 to 27 stitches per inch in the prime quality shirt.
7) Matching pattern
Matching pattern is another detail which all high-end quality shirt manufacturer should pay attention to it; you can check on the top shoulder on the joint part between sleeves and shoulder, on back yoke in joint part and on sleeves vents. The yoke is the back side of the shirt which connects neck to shoulder, this part of the shirts are two layers and make sure this part cut split in diagonal shape (45 degrees) and matching pattern line perfectly.
Mother of pearl (MOP), shell or Stone buttons are the best choices for the quality dress shirt, any dress shirt without MOP button considered cheap and low-quality. You can identify the MOP buttons from polyester and plastic with following methods:
A) The temperature, all shell buttons always are colder than room temperature. You can use your tongue or face to feel the temperature differences.
B) By sound, hitting two buttons together will hear the stone or glass sound
C) Burning test by lighter, by heating the button will change the color to black or grey instate polyester buttons will burn entirely like a plastic.
D) Broken, If you have an extra button, by breaking will observe like smashing the glasses.
There are some other options available for shirt buttons like horn, wooden, metal, plastics and others but now way to use any of these buttons in high-end dress shirts, the shell button becomes the symbol of luxury in the fashion industry because of look, characteristics, and quality.
Mother of pearl buttons are in different thicknesses and shapes, shell buttons available from 1.5 mm to 6 mm, thicker buttons are beautiful, but it is hard to cut in 6 mm and hard to find the shell in that thicknesses in significant quantity for a specific color. Some quality shell buttons need to cut individually with a hand drilling.
9) Collar stays.
Most of the shirt maker in different the designer and brand positioning level using plastic collar stay except just a few sartorial luxury brands; I prefer MOP collar stays with metal support.
10) Sewing the buttons
The ideal way to sew the buttons on prime quality shirts is sewing by hand with forming the shank, this way we create extra space by creating the leg between the button and shirt fabric, this way we eliminate tensions in buttoning aria, otherwise may you will see wrinkles around the buttons.
The excessive use of detergent, wear and tear can weaken the thread and sooner or later some of your buttons will fall off. There are few more options like gum and elastic thread, which locking end part of the thread by melting and forming nice looking shank, most used in high-end shirts only with strict washing and drying conditions. Shirt must be washed by hand and dried hanging on, using a dryer machine with hot temperature, will destroy the resistance of the thread and will fall off.
11) Attaching the sleeves to shirt body
Before to show how to check the quality shirts sleeves attachment, I need to explain construction and techniques how sewing the sleeves into the body.
A) Sewing body of the shirts entirely and then attaching the sleeves on end part of this manufacturing process, the reason they do that because body part of the shirts taking it’s best stable position, connecting the sleeves after this stabilization shirt forming body anatomic and natural shape. Keeping the sleeves to end of the shirt manufacturing process is the best way to build high-quality shirt and can be found mostly in high-end shirts.
This construction will allow wearers more free arm movement which will not affect body part of the shirt.
The other crucial reason is to create functionality and independent sleeves movement, in this type of construction, body and sleeves seams not sawing in continue the line.
How to check?
Look at the area of the armpit shirts will not match the side seam with the sleeve seam.
B) The sleeves are sewn together on in the process of sewing the entire shirt together, Sewing the side seams of the body with sleeves seams at the same time in same continue closing line.
In this type of the construction when the wearer moves his arms, the whole shirt will move together, and most of the time shirt will come out from trouser, and sleeves rarely hang perfectly.
A) Quality fine handmade buttonhole
Buttonholes should be cut it first and then sewn. Traditionally, buttonholes were hand-sewn, most luxury sartorial brands making even they RTW shirts feature hand-sewn buttonholes; this future looks excellent when the shirts made entirely by hand otherwise machine-made buttonholes that cut the fabrics first and then sewn with high-density stitches can be beautiful as well.
How to check?
Buttonhole must be free of any residual thread and fiber inside the buttonhole, should be clean and high density stitched
B) Using silk thread to make a buttonhole
To create more pleasant and luxury look for buttonhole using particular silk thread, you can differentiate this by looking to buttonhole color and shin of the yarn.
C) Longevity and resistant
Machine-Made buttonholes because of robust weaving techniques will likely last longer.
D) Buttonhole positioning on the collar
The first buttonhole should be in 45 degrees ( 9-12 o’clock)
Front buttonholes position are vertical except the last one is horizontal to create little more room for expansion
Sleeve vent buttonhole usually made in the same line as a sleeve and a smaller size than others. Hidden button is most favorite on sleeve vent.
E) Cuff buttonholes
Cuff buttonholes always made perpendicular to a sleeve line.
13) Side Gussets
Side gussets are part of quality shirt elements; this future may not help for comfort and functionality but is a part of the luxury shirt look and artisanal detail, gussets are in different size and shaps with the sophisticated artisanal look.
The slim fit shirt may not necessarily to have this future.
14) Multi-functionality of cuffs
Multi-functionality of the cuffs is good to be part of the high -end shirt but not necessary to have this future, it helps wearer in any occasions and creates a different look.
15) Collar rest line
This future is creating more comfort on the back side of neck when neck forwarding to back; this future forming comfort seat for the neck.
16) Wrinkle-Resistant & Non-Iron Dress Shirts
Wrinkle-free and non-Iron tag in any shirts means low-quality shirts because of treatment of the fabrics, do not associate wrinkle free and non-Iron dress Shirts with high-quality shirts.beware from wrinkle-free labeled shirts, I will cover this subject later.
17) Cotton – Silk mix fabrics
Most of the prime quality shirts made from high-quality cotton fabrics or pure heavy silk fabrics. Last few years become the more popular mix of these two compositions for luxury sartorial brands shirts.
18) Small armhole and high Armscye
This future is the most exciting detail of high-end and luxury sartorial shirts.
Forming the small armhole and cutting higher create much more room for the arm to have more free movement, this way shirt body and sleeves will work independently and with arm and body excess movement shirt body always will stay inside the pant and will not come out bt arms movement.
Cutting high armscye will create much more room for free movement and comfort, Some high-end sartorial shirt makers creating they pattern with small armhole for best possible free movement.
How to check?
* you can measure the size of the armhole, putting the shirt flat on the table and measure around armhole, for shirt neck size 40 EU, armhole measurement less than 50-51 cm. Of course, this is for tailored and comfortable fit shirt for the average and symmetric body shape.
* Another way to check this particular function is, to wear the shirt and tack it into pant and then move your arm in 90 degrees position with your body, your shirt should stay in your trousers, and your arm movement will not affect body part of the shirt.
19) Yoke free dress shirts
This is the most clean, simple and highly elegant shirt cut I have seen in my life, it is yoke free cut, the simpilisity of this type of the shirt always fascinated me, this is th ebest choice shirt for who are looking for something different, clean and elegant, definitely this the best choice for who dose not have asimetry on shoulder, of course with high quality fabrics and excellent Italian artistry workmenship.
20) Right Fit, Cut, and size
We need to differentiate the right fit, cut and size, most of the time people confusing these three terms. It is an essential subject, and I am gone cover this subject in depth soon.
These days because of advanced advertising technology and dominant fashion industry influencers we have under attack 24/7, Is hard to take an objective decision to purchase freely, We need to educate ourselves to build our wardrobe professionally with confidence and by clear plan behind of every single purchase for our wardrobe.
Above guidelines should help you to weed out shirts of inferior quality and will help you in your next shirt purchase to get right shirts for your wardrobe.
How to gain the experienaces?
You can go to any men’s department store in your convenience time and train yourself, follow this guideline and check the shirts indifferent the brand and let your hand and eye become your expert tools. You do not need to buy spend some time in the luxury men’s store and check above details and earn experiences for your next shopping.